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Starting my first Fish Tank.... Help?

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Hello all

I have just baught a 3 foot fish tank (900x300x460) (124L) and i am yet to buy all the stuff.

I went to about 5 pet shops on saturday just to get info and prices on stuff and all they did was give me different answers.....

So firstly the filter 3 shops said i can use a in tank filter (35$) and another two places said i need a canister filter (130$) there is a big price difference for a beginer.... will the 35$ in tank filter do? on the box it said it does up to 150L there is a larger in tank filter too for like 40$ that does 200L i think?

heater i was just going to buy a 150watt heater, and Gravel is just from the pet shop... then of course some type of ornaments. Lights no problem (im an electrician) ill jsut grab 1 from work change the bulb to an aquarium light.

Have i go the right idea? am i missing something can anyone help me with what my filter should be?

i also kno i have to cycle my tank (6-8 weeks), got the stuff to do that, master test kit thingy, borrowing from a mate, he never used...



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hey miles,

ok well with the filteration it all depends on what fish you are putting in the tank and how much you are stocking the tank.

the internal filter does not really offer to much space for beneficial bacteria. however you could get away with using one if the tank was stock lowish (example 1 pair of bristlenose or some guppies). however if you were looking at going this way, i would also add a sponge filter as well. these are about $8 each, you will need a small air pump to run it about $15 (i think).

i used to run all my tanks only on sponge filters, my tanks were stocked with all bn and heaps of fry. however i have since run all my tanks with canistor filters, wow the difference is great. i always thought that they were too expensive but now will not have a tank without one.

it also depends on you. if you did alot of water changes the internal and sponge combo will suffice however if you only did minimal water changes and stocked the tank to the max i would definately say go the canistor.

where are you located?

if you happen to go the internal and sponge, get the largest sponge filter they have. (the bigger it is the more area for bacteria to have). with the internal i would go the larger one too unless you are getting fish that do not like too much of a current.

if you go the canistor, dont go a cheap crappy one. too many people have bought these and found that they do not filter there tank too good or break. i can not say enough about my new eheim filters. they are dear but wow they are worth it, great filteration. you dont need to go the dearest brand but certainly go with a decent brand.

any other questions?

ok now that i have written an essay i am off to write one for uni lol.


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G'day Miles,

First up, what type of fish are you planning on keeping and how many?

Cichlids, catfish, natives, etc...

I'll echo a couple of comments made by brad.

re filtration. Canister filters while expensive, are the best route to go. And you pay for quality. Eheim are the top of the range, and many people have stories of thiers lasting 10 years and longer. Of course eheim have a few different ranges, but a filter like the Eheim professional 2222 would be fine for your tank.

What type of substrate you use also will depend on what type of fish you want to keep. Gravel is not always the best substrate to use. Many people use pool filter sand, it's very cheap compared to most LFS sold substrate, though you do have to wash it thoroughly.

Tank decorations again will depend on what type of fish you intend on keeping. Different types of fish require different tank scapes.

Lighting, only really important if you plan on growing plants. Otherwise you just want to make sure you controll algea growth in your tank. A great way to do this is to use a timer, and it's best not to run lights longer than 6 hours to help minimise algea growth.


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Thanks guys for the help, i went with a canister filter, and set up my tank last night, im so excited lol....i should get my first 3 guppies on monday (im going away for the weekend) so yeah lol ill keep you posted on how i go :S

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